Matthew 5:17 ” Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Jesus says these scriptures because this is what the scribes and the Pharisees perceived of the Lord Jesus Christ. They saw Him as a threat coming to destroy the law of Moses. As far as they were concerned Christ was a destroyer and a threat to everything they stood for. Why, because Christ healed the sick on the Sabbath, He abolished the food laws, He was bringing a new teaching into Judaism and trying to break the old ties. They saw Him as setting Himself above the law of Moses to change it. That’s why in John 5:18 Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the sabbath but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. But what they didn’t realize is Christ didn’t come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law. The word fulfill means to make full, it means to complete something that was incomplete bringing to perfection something that was imperfect. It was a shock to the people and they considered it blasphemy because He was placing Himself as the exact fulfillment of all of the word of God. The tendency today is to do away with the Old Testament. But what we must realize is that every bit of scripture points to Jesus Christ. And by Him fulfilling the law He is saying I am raising the standard of the law. How did He do that? By being the only man ever who was able to obey the 10 commandments, the ceremonial law, and all that Moses taught. He fulfills all the types and symbols. The judicial law He fulfilled because he personified perfect justice, righteousness and holiness. J.C. Ryle says the Old Testament is the germ of Christianity. The Old Testament is the bud of the New Testament flower. Christ didn’t come to smash the law but actually get it to a place it had never been before. That is Matthew 5:18. But as we must see the purpose of the law was not salvation. The Jews didn’t get to heaven by keeping the law. The purpose was to show the sinfulness of mankind to themselves. It was like a mirror with the condemnation of the law. They were guilty before God. and the only penalty for sin was death. So God because He is a righteous and a Holy God demanded a penalty for our sins. It was Jesus Christ that fulfilled the penalty. The message of the New Testament is Christ died for the ungodly. Christ in His death satisfied the demands of God’s law. Paul says that we are no longer under condemnation. For the law was fulfilled by Christ blood on Calvary. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! No we are not under the law of Moses but we are under the law of Christ.